Prep Baseball Report’s May 24 poll has Southwestern sitting at the top of its class. The Spartans ended the regular season with a 19-4 record and added another win Wednesday at the Morristown Sectional.
Southwestern, now with a program-best 20 wins, has its sights set on a sectional championship. The Spartans, who have not won a sectional title since 1999, looked the part of a state-ranked team against Indianapolis Lutheran to open postseason play (12-5 win).
The bats struck early and often while veteran righty Anick Hartsell kept the Saints in check on the mound. Hartsell finished with four strikeouts, moving to 7-0 on the season.
Matthew Clements and Jordan Jones remained hot at the plate, both finishing 4-for-5. Clements led the team with four RBIs. Christian DeArmitt was 3-for-3 at the plate and Hartsell was 3-for-5.
The Spartans will play Greenwood Christian Academy Saturday morning in the sectional semifinals.
So, why is SW having so much success this season? Here are three reasons the Spartans are ranked No. 1.
It is hard to find a weak spot in Southwestern’s lineup, which is rare for a Class A baseball team. Most small-school programs are lucky to have four or five guys who can play. Southwestern does not have that issue this season.
The Spartans currently have eight players hitting .300 or better. Southwestern also has four players with 20 or more RBIs and five players who have scored at least 25 runs.
Clements leads the team with a .522 batting average, Jones has a team-high 36 runs scored and Ethan Wendling leads the group with 32 RBIs.
The depth can also be seen on the mound. The Spartans have five players who have started at least three games. Four of those players have thrown 30 or more strikeouts. As a team, Southwestern has a 2.35 ERA.
Several of the same players on the baseball team won sectional titles during soccer and basketball this past school year. That, combined with experience from previous seasons – in all sports – gives Southwestern a highly-experienced lineup.
Having to come through late in a ballgame won’t scare the Spartans. They have been there before.
Confidence can be extremely valuable in the postseason. Southwestern should have plenty of it after an impressive regular season.
Anick Hartsell received a sportsmanship pin from the Morristown Athletic Department Wednesday after the Spartans’ win. That, in a nutshell, explains the type of players Southwestern head coach Chris Ingels has been coaching.
The Spartans have zero drama. They simply care about winning.
Ingels is the same way. He is always so calm and collected. That demeanor trickles down to his players. They trust him. And he trusts them.
With no added drama, Ingels and the Spartans are able to focus on the task at hand – winning. Southwestern has done plenty of that this season.
Triton Central moves on
The Triton Central baseball team earned a sectional win Wednesday at Heritage Christian. The Tigers (15-13) beat Indianapolis Scecina, 7-4.
Quintin Potts and Kiefer Earl collected multiple hits for TC. Aaron Shircliff scored two runs while Kevin Ramsey and Ben Riggins both collected two RBIs.
On the mound, TC’s Hayden Kermode went seven innings. He allowed six hits, three walks and struck out seven.
TC advanced to play Knightstown Thursday at 7 p.m. in semifinal action. Eastern Hancock and Heritage Christian play in the other semifinal.
Shelbyville drops game to Columbus East
The Shelbyville baseball team was held without a hit Wednesday at the Bloomington North Sectional. Columbus East’s Kaden Wise and Ethan Lanni combined to no-hit the Golden Bears in a 2-0 win.
Columbus East scored one run in the first and second innings to take control.
The Olympians move on to face rival Columbus North on Friday in the semifinals. CN beat East Central 4-2 Wednesday to advance. Bloomington North and Bloomington South will meet in the other semifinal Friday.
Shelbyville finished its season with a 16-13 record.
Morristown softball falls at Edinburgh
The Morristown softball team ended its season Wednesday at the Edinburgh Sectional. The host Lancers (15-10) beat the Yellow Jackets, 16-1.
Morristown finished its season with a 3-18 record.
Indianapolis Lutheran beat Greenwood Christian Academy 3-2 in the other semifinal.